ALBA finds a way, downs Zalgiris
ALBA Berlin pulled away in the final quarter to defeat visiting Zalgiris Kaunas 69-62 on Thursday night in the German capital. ALBA improved to 4-7 on the season, while Zalgiris dropped to 3-8 with its fifth consecutive loss. Zalgiris struggled offensively in the first half, but used a 0-14 third-quarter run to go in front. However, ALBA responded, restored its lead late in the third, then pulled away in the fourth quarter. Niels Giffey paced the hosts with 13 points. Martin Hermannsson scored 11 and Marcus Eriksson and Landry Nnoko scored 10 apiece. Zalgiris big man Zach LeDay was the top scorer in this low-scoring affair with 15 points, while Lukas Lekavicius scored 12 in a losing effort.
Both teams struggled offensively early, but Hermannsson scored 6 points to get the hosts going. Zalgiris was held without a basket for more than 5 minutes as ALBA went on a 9-0 run during which Giffey beat the shot-clock from way downtown to help ALBA open a 15-5 advantage late in the first quarter. Jonas Mattisseck's three-pointer made it 18-7 early in the second before LeDay sparked Zalgiris by scoring 7 points, including a dunk and Zalgiris's first triple, to cut the deficit to 21-16. LeDay scored twice more from close range to get his team within 25-22, but Eriksson nailed a transition triple to keep ALBA in front and the hosts took a 32-26 lead into halftime. Zalgiris turned things around in the third quarter with Thomas Walkup and LeDay sparking a 0-14 run which Edgaras Ulanovas capped to make it 34-40. However, a three-point play from Luke Sikma and a pair of baskets from Makai Mason restored ALBA's lead. Nigel Hayes knocked down a corner triple for Zalgiris as the teams traded blows and ALBA took a 47-46 lead into the fourth quarter. That is when Giffey took over, hitting a long jumper and then a triple to help stake the hosts to a 58-50 advantage midway through the fourth quarter. Arturas Milaknis and K.C. Rivers drove for layups to keep the visitors' hope alive, but Hermannsson nailed a long jumper and Rokas Giedratiis knocked down a three-pointer to help put the game away at 69-56 with under 2 minutes to go.
Late run seals it
ALBA stepped up on defense in the fourth quarter, outscored the visitors 11-4 in the first 5 minutes of the final quarter and used a 17-8 run to open a 13-point lead
Late scoring punch
ALBA did not have a double-digit scorer until the fourth quarter, in which Giffey netted 7 of his 13 points. ALBA scored 22 in the fourth quarter and finished with four players with 10 or more points.
Historic three-point struggles
In this game, Zalgiris missed its first 10 three-point attempts, shot 1 for 16 in the first half and then missed all 5 of its attempts in the fourth quarter to finish 2 for 23 on the night. This 8.7% from long range is the second-worst single-game percentage in club history, only behind a 1-for-14 shooting effort in a home win over Brose Bamberg in March 2016.
Next week in Round 12 both teams will be on the road. Zalgiris travels to face its long-time rival, defending champion CSKA Moscow, while ALBA visits Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.
Thursday, November 28, 2019